Nelly Hanna’s work challenges the standard perceptions about Middle East society and economy of the seventeenth century. Both novel in its approach and information, this book’s central theme revolves around the rise of an indigenous form of capitalism existing as early as the 1600s.
Making Big Money in 1600 examines the reemergence of the economic sector and its complex influences on social conditions during this time. By examining the life and work of Isma’il Abu Taqiyya, Hanna traces the relationship between economic activities and culture.
As we are introduced to Abu Taqiyya we learn how he negotiates partnership with other merchants, arranges for the handling of goods, and negotiates loans for colleagues. Hanna reveals his home life, his wives, children, and concubines, his relations with his family and friends, and how these relations evolved and were affected by the changing social and economic conditions-a perspective rarely discussed in works before the modern period.
Nelly Hanna is an associate professor of Arabic studies at the American University of Cairo. She is the author of An Urban History of Bulaq in the Mamluk and Ottoman Periods, the editor of The State and Its Servants: Administration in Egypt from Ottoman Times to the Present, and has produced many academic articles in English, French, and Arabic.